incremental doing

I tend to research things ad minutiae: what's the best combination of lifts for a workout? How soon before should I eat? What about post-workout recovery? Should I ice my muscles after, or take a hot shower? Use a foam roller? What meal regimen should I follow? How many days a week should I work out? What if I want to do more (or less?) than that due to …

If you spend any amount of time on a beginner bodybuilding forum you'll notice these questions asked over and over again. New users join the sport, ask the same questions that have been asked a thousand times, and are told by the old-timers to "STFU, read the FAQ in the sticky, and get to the gym."

They're right, you know: while answers to these questions feel important, they distract from the bigger picture: if you're asking these questions you're not doing the program. That's not to say that you should run out, grab a barbell and start squatting 200lbs—there's a minimal level knowledge and coaching that you need in order to lift without injury. After you're oriented to the basics, though? The biggest factor in your continued development is whether or not you make a habit of going to the gym.

Now, for many people—neurodivergents especially—it's easy to hyperfocus on the minutiae. "Since I know nothing about this," we say, "I should learn as much as possible about this topic so I can be the best person ever at doing it!" It's hard, but important to remain aware of the balance between learning and doing. For me, when I'm learning something unfamiliar I often shy away from actually practicing it. "Unless I'm instantly good at this," my internal dialogue goes, "I don't want keep on with it. What if people see how much I suck?"

Sucking, well… sucks. If you're competent in one area of your life, stepping outside of what you know is hard and it doesn't feel great. Starting a gym program is hard, and without a good gym it feels foolish as hell to walk into your local Gold's Gym and start playing with the "big boy weights." What I'd like to suggest is that it's healthy to recognize your own aversion to suckiness and suckitude, and to flip it on its head: "of course I suck at this, I've never done it before."

To quote Jake from Adventure Time:

"Sucking at something is the first step towards being kinda good at something."

Write down those hundred questions you have to get them out of your head. Learn the basics. Practice. Practice, practice, practice. Don't forget about your questions, but give them time to ferment, and give yourself time to learn and grow. Is workout nutrition important? Hell yes it is! But should you avoid working out at all until you find the perfect meal plan? That's a trap, and you know it. Endless research releases you from the best thing you can do for learning, which is practicing the thing that you want to learn.

So practice. Learn the basics, and be safe. Have lots of questions, and write them down—curiosity is important! After you've practiced a while, come back to your questions as a new person: it's the old you, but now you've got experience under your belt, and a better idea of what works for you. Try small changes, and build on top of the base of habit and practice you've already built.

It's easy to go down rabbit holes when you've never practiced something, so do yourself a favor and avoid rabbiting when you're early in the learning process.

#writing #neurodivergence #add #self #◊site/thinking